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CORONAVIRUS: Helpline launched for Kent businesses

Monday 6th April 2020

A NEW helpline, designed to help Kent businesses of any size or sector, has gone live.

The Covid-19 Business Helpline is provided by the Kent & Medway Growth Hub, the support service delivered by Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce on behalf of Kent County Council and the South East Local Enterprise Partnership.

A dedicated team of six call handlers is backed up by eight business advisers, each working from home who can answer detailed enquiries specific to the individual business by telephone or video conference. 

The new service will initially operate for the next three months.

The helpline team is handling the frequently answered questions to speed up the support with more complex enquiries being forwarded to the team of business advisers.

Every adviser is up to speed with the latest Government advice and receiving daily updates from a variety of public and private sector sources.

In the first five days since it was soft launched the helpline has received more than 800 calls. Of these calls more than 500 enquiries were passed on to the business advisers who have been tasked with responding within 48 hours.

Cllr Mike Whiting, KCC’s Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said: “The Government has stepped up to support businesses and the self-employed. We also recognised there was a local need and wanted to make sure there was additional support for those businesses wrestling with the issues impacting on their employees, customers and supply chain.

“The Growth Hub had the infrastructure in place and combined with Kent Invicta, were the obvious choice as our partner on this vital economic initiative.”  

Jo James, Chief Executive of Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, added: “As the scale of the impact on business became clear we knew we needed to develop a service to help local firms struggling to get to grips with the speed of the changes.

“Thanks to the financial support of Kent County Council and every one of the local authorities, the Growth Hub is now able to provide a vital countywide support service.”

It is expected that over the next three months the issues facing business will change with the hope that the virus will be brought under control and businesses can look at how best to recover.

The team at the Covid-19 Business Helpline can be reached by calling 03333 602300. It is open 08.30 to 17:00, Monday to Friday.